Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
In spite of the obvious fact that a hero who flies by the seat of his pants can nevertheless believe in an orderly universe and support his society more or less according to whether it is in harmony with the greater order, and an obsessive-compulsive character may be reacting to his belief that the universe is chaotic, and society no better.
See also Character Alignment, where this is a major factor. See also Alike and Antithetical Adversaries for other variants on this conflict. Can often be involved with the dilemma of Harmony Versus Discipline. Visually represented on a smaller scale with Slobs Versus Snobs.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
One Piece has — at least as a background story so far — the war of the World Government and their policy of "absolute justice" against the free-spirited pirates. The World Government is portrayed as corrupt and pretty much completely evil, aside from a few story-prominent Navy officers who reject "absolute justice" in favor of their own brand of justice. The pirates, on the other hand, range from nice guys like Luffy to jerkasses like Buggy to dog-kicking scumbags like Arlong and Crocodile.
s-Cry-ed (anime version) casts the independent mercenary Kazuma as a proponent of Chaos and the military-mindset HOLY member Ryuhou as a Orderly Knight Templar who's confidently skirting the Moral Event Horizon. Most of Kazuma's potential Inner allies aren't all that good, and Ryuho's fellow Cape Busters run the gamut from easygoing to The Caligula. Then Conflict Killer Kyoji Mujo shows up, having suckered the mainland brass into thinking him a full-blown Knight Templar when he's really a Social Darwinist. At this point, if the two are left unattended for more than two seconds they start pounding on each other, but both agree that he's the biggest threat.
Tsutomu Nihei's Blameverse features this conflict prominently. In Noise, the main character is a cop investigating a cult who worship the power of chaos who are kidnapping children to use for human sacrifices in their bizarre Magitek rituals. When they kill her, she is resurrected by a The Safeguard, protectors of order, but they turn out to be a pack of fascists who plan on disenfranchising and killing everybody who can't afford network implants and brainwashing the ones who do. Then in Blame!, we see the aftermath of this; the cult succeeded in throwing the world into chaos, but since they're so poorly organized their descendants, the Silicon Lives, don't amount to much more than a bunch of roving cyber-barbarians. The Safeguard doesn't fare much better, as their directives become so corrupted that they essentially believe that everything that's not them must be exterminated.
This is one of those few times in fiction where the reader is shown exactly WHY the Balance Between Order And Chaos is so important and makes it clear that although Order is necessary, if it taken too far from the median line between Order and Chaos, extremes become implemented without a balancing force. In fact this is even evident in the Schizo Tech and Bizarchitecture seen in the manga, where widespread chaotic disruption results in the ever-growing expansion of the City, but the reason why that expansion continues is because the ordered directives of the builders demand logical progression and expansion. With no mediating force, one extreme inevitably bleeds into the other where neither are compatible for continued life.
Very much present in Soul Eater, which likes to play around with the concepts on a regular basis.
Mostly in the "pure chaos" results in total insanity with no control or direction, but "pure order" in fact amounts to nothingness where the chaotic nature of life is not present. You start to feel very bad for the Anthropomorphic Personifications who run the universe.
It says something when even they give up on the idea, and ultimately leave everything to humans. By the end of the manga, most of the 'verse's Anthropomorphic Personifications are either dead, imprisoned, or have sided with humanity against the remaining bad things in the world. There is still the matter of the one in the Book of Eibon, who was shown to be able to tip the balance significantly.
The World God Only Knows has a variation of this in the second to last episode. Many students want to put a media room in the library, but Shiori, the student librarian, won't have it, preferring the library to be a place of quiet solitude for books to be enjoyed. However, she's too shy to actually say anything, so she locks up the library by changing the password on the keypad and makes a fort of books. Keima eventually gets in and just sits with her playing his game to show that they're not so different. In the end, however, it starts to become less and less Order vs Chaos and more Chaos vs Chaos as Shiori nearly passes out under a pile of fallen books. In the end Shiori comes to terms with the "chaos" that she knew the media room would cause, but still demands that no books be thrown away.
The overarching conflict in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is this, although it's played with a bit. The angelic Anarchy Sisters are Chaotic Neutral, being largely just selfish jerks who want to have fun heedless of the amount of mayhem they cause while protecting the city; by contrast, the demonic Daemon Sisters are Lawful Evil and make serious attempts to improve the quality of life by way of tyranny and enforced conformity.
Given the sheer selfishness and dubious moral choices that Panty and Stocking have both made over the series, most notably Panty indifferently telling the Daemon Sisters to kill Brief, even suggesting they take a crap in his mouth first to give him a last meal, their mutual decision to abandon their fellow survivors in "...of the Dead", and Panty refusing to catch Brief, even though he just restored her angelic powers, in the final episode, which leads directly to the Daemon's plan succeeding, it's not implausible to take a more cynical view and view the series as Lawful Evil Daemon Sisters vs Chaotic Evil Anarchy Sisters.
Devilman spin-off manga AMON portrays conflict between God, Satan and Amon as this. God is cruel tyrant, who wants to exterminate demons just because he didn't create them and they don't fit his vision of order in the world. Satan, while defending demons, despises their chaotic nature and wants to rule over them. Amon, deeply chaotic spirit, despises both of them.
Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL has the conflict between the Astral World (representing Order) and the Barian World (representing Chaos), with Earth caught up in the middle. The Astral World's ruler Eliphas is so fanatically devoted to Order that he stands in Yuma's way just because he has Chaos powers, even when Yuma uses them to heal several inhabitants of Astral World. After Yuma narrowly manages to defeat him, Eliphas realizes he was wrong, especially with the revelation that Chaos is the source of life, and the Astral World was slowly dying because they had purged it of Chaos.
The Invisibles had the good guys as agents of Chaos, fighting off the evil forces of eternal Order. The series often plays with these associations, as a member of the Outer Church (the Order side) tries to convince a bunch of outsiders they're the good guys by citing the story of Ahura Mazda versus Angra Mainyu (see below).
The original, Silver Age run of Doom Patrol had the team tending toward Good Chaos, as they were the rejects and cast-offs of society. Grant Morrison's later run kicked this into overdrive, with surreality as the order of the day, and characters like Crazy Jane (each of whose multiple personalities has its own superpower) and Danny the Street (a sentient transvestite boulevard). It also featured Evil Chaos in the form of the Brotherhood of Dada, and Evil Order as Darren Jones and the Men From N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Granted, the Brotherhood of Dada wasn't evil so much as plain weird. In fact the heroes found themselves working to SAVE the Brotherhood of Dada in their second appearance and two of them even pointed out that the Brotherhood had the right idea
In last issue of his run Crazy Jane is kept in another world (implied to be our world) and her therapist insists her adventures with Doom Patrol are delusions, some enemies (The Scissormen and Orqwith, the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., the Sex Men, the Ant Farm and the Telephone Avatar) as representations of cold, alien, tyrannical authority (Evil Order) and others (Red Jack, Desecrator, Shadowy Mister Evans, the Candlemaker) as predatory forces of destruction (Evil Chaos) representing her father.
The DCU has the Sufficiently AdvancedEnergy Beings known as the Lords of Chaos and Lords of Order. Several previously-existing magical beings were retconned to fit in with this; Dr. Fate's mentor Nabu became a Lord of Order, the Legion of Super-Heroes' antagonist Mordru was revealed as a Lord of Chaos, and so on. Most portrayals of these focused on balance, especially Hawk and Dove, who represent, respectively, Chaos and Order and were created by a Lord of Order and a Lord of Chaos who had fallen in love and tried to find some happy middle.
The DCU also has Jack Kirby's Fourth World of the New Gods, where Order is represented by the oppressive tyrant, Darkseid, who demands absolute obedience and seeks the Anti-Life Equation, mastery of which will force any mind to submit to the will of he who wields it. He's opposed by the Space Hippies of New Genesis, who believe in peace and free will ("That is the Life Equation!") — and his own son, who is essentially a personification of pure, primal fury.
Amazingly, though Kirby clearly spells this out several times, many writers who followed him Just Didn't Get It, and explicitly flipped around the Order and Chaos attributions of the two factions. This may be because it was most clearly stated in The Forever People, the least well-regarded series in the saga.
Marvel Comics' Crystar Crystal Warrior is about a war between the magical forces of Order and Chaos on the planet Crystalium. While the good guys are all allied with Order, and the demon lord Chaos is indisputably evil, it's worth noting that the Order wizard Ogeode recognizes that if Order were taken too far, it would be just as destructive as Chaos (his bosses don't like it when he talks like this); while Chaos's Dragon, Moltar, was railroaded into the job and clearly doesn't really believe in it wholeheartedly, either. Moltar finally does a Heel-Face Turn at the very end of the series.
Marvel also has Lord Chaos and Master Order, two Anthropomorphic Personifications of the concepts. Usually Lord Chaos serves the role as the antagonist, or they both team up to protect the universe against a greater threat. An exception was when the cosmic being Edifice Rex planned to revert the universe back to a point singularity - all of the other cosmic beings opposed him, except for Master Order who thought it was a wonderful idea.
Averted in V for Vendetta: V fights to bring down the oppressive government, but is careful to tell to Evey that it's law, rather than order, that he opposes. He also makes sure to explain that anarchy is not the same as chaos. This is because in oppression a resistance will always exist, while in anarchy it will not, as there is nothing to resist.
According the comics, the Cenobites are order. In one of the more comedic stories, an obnoxious, lazy office worker spends all his time tinkering with one of the puzzle boxes, distracting his fellow employees and annoying his borderline Clock King boss, who easily solves the puzzle for him, summoning some Cenobites. The Cenobites prepare to take the boss to the Labyrinth, only to be told off by him; the boss says he only solved the puzzle because it was disrupting the order, productivity and perfectionism he constantly strived for, which the Cenobites are now doing. The Cenobites mull this over for a bit, eventually decide the boss is essentially "doing Leviathan's work" and decide to take the employee, who the boss had earlier described as "a gear that has become misaligned", in his place.
The theme of Jonathan Hickman's S.H.I.E.L.D. is a war between science as a force for change (represented by Leonardo da Vinci) and science as a means of control (represented by Isaac Newton). The lead character, the son of Nikola Tesla, initially sides with Leonardo, before deciding both sides are wrong because they're locked into the idea there must be a war.
Modern Green Lantern comics have shades of this with emotional spectrum.
Green in the middle represents Order and the further you go from it, the more chaotic the corps become. Each color represents emotion, except for Green, which is willpower - the ability to overcome and control your emotions for the greater good, so the further you go from it, the less control you have.
Blue and Yellow, hope and fear respectively, represent how you can use the emotions to affect and shape the world. Their goal is to establish order, but Blue Lanterns see it as harmony that can be built only in cooperation with Green, while the Sinestro Corps tries to impose tyranny and rule the Universe with an iron fist.
Orange and Indigo - greed and compassion - represent what happens when you let your emotions define your life. Indigo Tribe sacrifice their individuality for the common good, but it makes them detached and borderline sociopathic. Larfleeze, on the other hand, is completely selfish and cares only about himself.
And finally we have Pink and Red - love and anger - who represent Chaos. Members of both corps lose their minds, taken by the representative emotion. Star Sapphires want to spread love through the Universe and are willing to go to extremes to do so, as well as tending towards yanderish behavior. Red Lanterns are a horde of berserkers destroying everything in their path and often fighting between each other, when not provided with better (as in, any) targets. In the beginning they were mindless and bestial, but Atrocitus allowed them to regain some degree of self-control since then.
It should be noted that Order isn't presented as completely good and Chaos as completely evil. The White Entity is composed of white light, (formed when all of the seven colors are combined), and represents life, which is a combination of all emotions, as well as order and chaos in all their forms. Meanwhile, Black represents absence of emotions and life, the state of emptiness and stasis. The Guardians' actions to purge emotions from the Green Lantern Corps allowed the forces of Black to infiltrate them, as their actions have bought them too close to this cold, emotionless state.
Nemesis the Warlock pits the titular powerful alien wizard in service of Kaos against the tyrannical bigot ruling humanity, Torquemada. At first it looks like Chaos/Nemesis is good and Order/Torquemada is bad, but as the series goes it becomes clear Nemesis is manipulating both people around him and readers as well to potray himself as a hero, but in reality is cruel, bored god prolonging the war for his own amusment, because Torquemada is the only man to give him any challenge. At the end it's clear they are both bastards.
Astérix fits this theme. The Romans are well-organised (the story occasionally lampshades their beautiful maneuvers as a form of history-porn), trained, dress in uniforms, live in elegant villas or tidy little fortified camps, and are cultured and structured - although the characters given to the individual Romans show the cracks in the facade. The Gauls, on the other hand, have long, wild hair and facial hair, live in ramshackle huts, actively resist authority even if that authority might have a point and charge into battle any old how with no plans and their biggest men at the front. It's worth observing that when the Gauls beat up the (ordinary) Romans, they tend to look messed up, but quite happy about it, as if they're just relieved to be liberated from the oppression of order. The Gauls export their particular brand of Chaos to the camps, eventually - a new centurion arrives to discover that no-one is in uniform and the soldiers, all bruised and missing teeth, have completely given up attacking the village and are now just hanging around enjoying food, drink, games and basically having a relaxed, good time. On the other hand, the Gaulish chaos isn't entirely good, since if they have no-one to fight against they just argue constantly with each other. Some later Goscinny stories, such as Asterix and the Soothsayer, and Asterix and Caesar's Gift (to name just a couple) make it very clear just how annoying it would be to live in the village if you are anything close to being a normal person.
The Pony POV Series has this in the form of the Alicorns, representing Nature's Law, and the Draconequi, representing Nature's Fury (though they favor Chaos, even though Discord is the Anthropomorphic Personification of it). However, while they did have a war at one point, they generally don't hate each other and are meant to balance one another out.
In A New World, A New Way, Discord (whom is connected to the natural chaotic forces of the Everfree Forest) has a fight when Zygarde, the Order Pokemon, starts to remove that Chaotic energy and replace it with Order.
In 2008's The Dark Knight, the Joker claims that he is a representation of chaos, going up against Batman who represents order. As a sort of justification, he tells that chaos, for all that it does, it's at least fairnote Though really, he means "indiscriminate," not balanced or even.
Beetlejuice, the movie with the afterlife bureaucrat Juno and Mr. "It's-Showtime", with the protagonists trying to find a happy medium (no pun intended).
In the original Mad Max, Max and the police force represent order, whereas the biker gangs represent chaos.
Somewhat the point of The World's End. What is better? An advanced, progressive society full of robots, or a crude, harsh society where individual freedom is preserved? Humanity chooses the latter.
In The Cat in the Hat, there is a struggle between the fish (order) and the cat (chaos). The cat isn't strictly bad, since he brightens what would have been an otherwise boring day, but it's portrayed as a good thing when the house returns to order.
When the Cat returns in The Cat In The Hat Comes Back, the children greet him with hostility and make it clear that, fun or not, the chaos he brings is NOT welcome.
The works of Michael Moorcock, especially the Elric and Corum series, where the Lords of Chaos and the Lords of Law pick Champions to fight for them. Neither Order nor Chaos are portrayed as very nice.
It's pointed out in the books: Chaos means that every possibility is allowed (symbolized by the eight-arrow symbol), but at the end, you'll just move back and forth and get to nowhere. Order (symbolized by a straight arrow) means that you have direction, but exclude some possibilities — in the worst case, all of them. An world gone too far in Chaos is one where shape cannot be maintained and horrible things will try to eat you. A world gone too far in law will eventually become a featureless white plane. And although Order has a superficial appearance of being Good, and Chaos of being Evil; the true Good is, in fact, the Balance, with Evil being the extremes of either Order or Chaos.
It's heavily implied, if not outright stated in several Moorcock stories that the true 'good' is in fact mankind finally growing up, taking charge of and responsibility for its own destiny, and ceasing to depend on 'higher powers' that it may actually have propped up itself in the first place. Corum's Swords Trilogy ends with both Law and Chaos banished from his world, Elric's story ends with his world destroyed and replaced with one in which the gods have little influence, and the final story of the Erekosë saga implies that Law, Chaos, and the Balance were destroyed.
In A Song of Ice and Fire we have the Wildlings, who love their freedom, would never support the whole monarchistic system that is causing all the crap in Westeros, but have no real infrastructure or laws. On the other hand we have the Night Watch, which is honour bound to protect the country from them.
Two of the power players (if not the main two) in Westeros embody this trope: the power-hungry Littlefinger, who advances in the world by causing chaos and using it to his advantage, and Varys the Spider, who wants to restore order (specifically, the old order) and stabilise the realm.
Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber also had Order and Chaos, respectively embodied by the Unicorn/Pattern and the Serpent/Logrus, as the main cosmological forces of his multiverse. In the second series, they were rather insistent on main character Merlin picking a side, much to his annoyance. Too much imbalance was especially said to endanger the existence of the universe.
Also noteworthy that families ruling Amber and Courts of Chaos both have elements of the opposite in them - Chaos is much more honorable and has complicated form of hierarchy within which all intrigues and schemes happens, while children of Oberon are more or less pragmatic, backstabbing manipulators constantly changing aliances between one another and don't even mantain illusion of hierarchy among them.
Part of the world's magic system of Modesitt's Saga of Recluce novels. His system is very complex but normally the Chaos side is evil. This is increasingly subverted in the later novels, but we have not yet seen an Order mage as a major villain. Ironically, the Chaos mages have (or had) a well-organized Empire, while the Order mages were generally either rebels or refugees for much of their history.
However, the Order mages aren't exactly pinnacles of goodness either. The sole country run by Order mages exiles anyone who isn't orderly enough, and the Order mages tend to cause lots of collateral damage when fighting the Chaos mages.
As presented in the earlier books, Order mages tend to slowly become more dedicated to (and fixed in) their causes (good or evil), while Chaos mages tend to become less so (and thus self-centered and increasingly amoral, but less capable of intentionally being pure good or pure evil). Later, the series seems to drift more towards making balance the only "real" good solution.
The Illuminatus! trilogy is largely about the battle between Chaos as good and Order as evil, but also suggests that Chaos is 'good' in this context because there is too much Order - too much Chaos is shown to be just as bad. One of the guiding principles of the Discordians (our Chaotic good guys) is that "imposition of order leads to escalation of chaos".
To even understand the book, you have to have some mental grip on the concept of Chaos.
According to Discordianism, both Order and Disorder are illusions; there is only Chaos, which contains absolutely everything. They choose whether they want to approach matters in a chaotic or orderly fashion depending on which one they consider more creative and interesting for the moment; it's no coincidence that their ideal human is a Renaissance Man; science and art are orderly concepts, but they are also creative.
Nonfiction example: Hobbes's Leviathan is very pro-Order, characterizing totalitarianism as the only alternative to "the war of all against all".
A semi-viral unpublished novel called The Cloven Accord depicts Chaos as evil natural-disaster-causing demons and Order as a mind-destroying cult. The happy medium, the Ilyarians, appears to be extremely metaphysical hedonism. Uniquely, all symbolism inherent in these concepts is helpfully listed at the back of the book.
Mickey Zucker Reichert's The Last of the Renshai series ties this trope to a modified version of Norse Mythology. Odin has been keeping the world as orderly as possible to delay Ragnarök. One of the main characters in the book decides the world needs a little bit more chaos. The efforts of other characters to stop him end up being counterproductive, tilting the balance the other way.
The Discworld makes heavy use of both sides of this trope.
The Auditors of Reality represent Evil Order (they want to destroy all life because it's untidy), and Death typically finds himself against them, though he's more of a Balancing force than Chaos. However, Kaos does show up toward the end of Thief of Time, in order to tip the balance in the battle between the Four Horseman against the Auditors.
Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, represents Order in the human world; whether he is good, evil, or morally ambiguous depends on how you interpret the motives behind his methods. Vimes tends to support order as well.
In the constant competition between Fate and the Lady, it's the Lady (Luck — a chaotic factor interfering with Fate's order) who gets shown more sympathetically. Like all Discworld gods she has a tendency to see people as playing peices, but unlike Fate, she never sacrifices a pawn.
Fate: How can you hope to win without sacrificing the occasional pawn?
The Lady: Oh, I never play to win. But I do play not to lose.
The Old Kingdom series has Charter Magic (Order) vs. Free Magic (Chaos), though the Abhorsen makes use of both.
The Thursday Next books have the Hades family as Evil Chaos and Goliath Corporation as Evil Order. Thursday tends towards Balance
In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, the central conflict of the setting is that of Cosmos vs. Chaos. The children are caught in the middle; indeed, one consideration when thinking of escaping back to their parents is that they aren't certain the forces of Chaos are right, even though the forces of Cosmos have been holding them hostage.
In another nonfiction example, it was subverted by Pierre-Jospeh Proudhon's writings, namely by the statement "Anarchy is Order."
Louise Cooper's excellent Time Master trilogy, along with the sequel Chaos Gate and prequel Star Shadow trilogies. Another example of Good = Balance, and Evil = Extreme; although none of the factions are quite that straightforward, and the nature of the universe is portrayed as a pendulum constantly swinging back and forth between the two.
In Tamora Pierce's The Immortals novels, the Big Bad turns out to be the goddess of chaos who fights against the other great gods. It's because of her that creatures like the stormwings got into the mortal realm.
It also is known in The Icelandic Sagas which sometimes can seem to resemble the Western genre.
R.A. Salvatore's The Orc King has an interesting play on this; King Obould is motivated by bringing order to orcish society where as his rival Grguch firmly believes that chaos is the way of the orc and Obould should die for straying from that. This is demonstrated in parallel scenes where Obould subtly helps his generals plan for an assault with considerably more discipline and forsight than one would think an orc capable of(an attack he knew wouldn't happen, at that). Meanwhile, Grguch orders a raid on the orc's enemies without any planning at all, despite, when he's called on it, displaying considerable understanding of battle planning; he knows what to do but doesn't do it as he considers order and discipline contrary to what he believes orcs should be. The twist in all this, however, is how these two are percieved by the heroes. The Companions of the Hall have been fighting orcs for as long as they can remember, and are forced to chose between assisting the creation of Obould's stable kingdom, which completely disrupts their perception of the natural order, or Grguch's chaos, which is normal for them, but in practice will involve a long conflict that will surely cost many more lives before it is resolved.
In Elizabeth Bear's Promethean Age series the Fae are definitely Chaos and the Promethean Society Order and neither is presented as very nice. Subverted in that The Promethean Society was originally founded by Lucifer who is a Magnificent Bastard and the original rebel against Order.
Paradise Lost uses the standard notation where God is Order and Lucifer is Chaos. As a quirk of the way Milton wrote it, God is the stern version, while Lucifer decides in the first part to make the best of the bad situation he's been put in. It also points out Lucifer's hypocrisy. While he claims to stand for freedom, he very quickly becomes a despotic tyrant who rules Hell with an iron fist. Like many classics, the resulting work is still quite open to interpretation.
The Mistborn trilogy has the gods Ruin (chaos) and Preservation (order).
Depending on the writer and when it's not pure Blue and Orange Morality, the conflict between the Great Old Ones and the Elder Gods in HP Lovecraft's mythos can be viewed as order vs Chaos. The Outer Gods are also often associated with Chaos, being essentially not-really-anthropomorphic personifications of primal forces, hence Azathoth often being called the Nuclear Chaos and Nyarlatothep's epipthet "the Crawling Chaos".
In Lovecraft's own stories, however, both the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones are portrayed as vastly beyond the scope of human concepts like order or chaos, or any human concepts at all, really.
Lovecraft's universe is a chaotic and amoral place where the primal laws of physics spontaneously form from the chaotic gibberings of the ultimate creator, Daemon Sultan Azathoth, a process described in the poem Azathoth.
This is played out in the race of Ents: male Ents loved the wilderness and forests, nature untamed, while the Entwives cultivated gardens and loved orchards and farmlands. The two genders drifted apart over the years, and the Ents have since lost the Entwives completely.
According to J.R.R.'s notes and letters relating to The Silmarillion, Sauron followed the chaotic Morgoth, paradoxically, out of desire for order.
Downplayed in the Moomins stories, where the protagonists tend to be Chaotic Good and others such as hemulens are often Lawful Stupid. It's never a major conflict, but at least in one book we find Snufkin and his father waging a sort of guerilla war of annoyance against wardens of a park for children who are enforcing such strict rules that no-one's having any fun.
In Tad WilliamsThe Dirty Streets of Heaven Heaven is Order and Hell Chaos but while demons are definitely evil Heaven is implied to be a Crapsaccharine World with the higher orders playing Machiavellian games and the "saved" playing forever in the Elysian Fields at the cost of their memories and personalities which has led some on both sides to seek a Third Way.
Grundy from A Fable of Tonight belives his mission is to ensure balance between Order and Chaos, with healthy dose of Balance Between Good and Evil, through The Multiverse. When he finds a world where either Order or Chaos gained too much of an advantage, he tries to balance it. But because he's a demon, his methods are both utterly evil - he brings terror to wacky, crazy world of magic and lets criminals from it into our, much more orderly, world, to spread disorder - and bound to upset the balance to much towards the other side. This is when the force Grundy calls the Adversary intervenies, creating a champion of good to trurly restore the balance between order and chaos.
Patrick Tilley's Amtracj Wars series pits the fascistically orderly Amtrack Federation against the chaos of the Mute tribes. it pretty much comes off as Gray and Grey Morality with the tribes being the the lighter shade.
Once you get past the Totally Radical slang, this is the main conflict in The Demon Headmaster series. The title villain has no backstory besides "Lawful Evil on legs", while the heroes are unruly, fun-loving schoolkids who represent everything he despises. In the first book, Dinah notes that if the Headmaster cared about things like money he wouldn't be going to the effort of world domination - he genuinely believes the world would be better off his way.
Atrocitology: Humanity's 100 Deadliest Achievements by Matthew White is a non-fiction example. In the opinion of the author, "Chaos is deadlier than tyranny. More of these multicides result from the breakdown of authority than from the exercise of authority."
In Idlewild, Fantasia has this worldview, dubbed Nutritious and Delicious. Her schizophrenia may have played a role in its adoption.
In The Quantum Thief the Sobornost mind upload collective claims to represent Order and seeks to wipe out all death and uncertainty from the world, and preaches that every thought is worth preserving, but their inner workings are far less orderly than they claim. Their prime opponent is the Zoku collective, who in turn embrace the quantum uncertainty principles, and declare that change is inevitable and positive; the Zokus' identities are fluid and they only define themselves through their interests, which they are free to change any time.
A Mage's Power: Inverted; Eric reads a story that protrays them as family. In fact, they're mother and son. A scene at the climax states that there is no animosity between them then the story implied. Tricksters, gods of Chaos, fight Enforcers, who are gods of Order, for control of worlds.
Babylon 5 had the Vorlons and the Shadows. Originally they were portrayed as Good vs. Evil (Vorlons projecting angelic images of themselves, shadows causing utter fear with their ships). Later, their millennial conflict is revealed as rival philosophies run amok: Order (Vorlons) vs. Chaos (Shadows), with the younger races being forced to choose a side or die. The idea was taken from Babylonian mythology, hence the name of the show.
Firefly: The chaos-loving Independents (which comprises Our Heroes) vs. the order-loving Alliance (the antagonists, responsible for a number of nasty things in the name of the greater good, but still more noble-minded and sympathetic than, say, the Empire from Star Wars). The Unification War is a more complicated matter. note The "Eternal Prohibition" was left on Earth-That-Was, everyone was permitted weapons, and taxes were both the lowest of any government in history and actually treated as charity. A lot of Independents weren't all that nice; thugs and debt slavers right out of Charles Dickens. It was when the war was declared that it got worse.
Quite a few pairs in House. Cuddy's job requires her to be the Order to House's Chaos. The fact that House needs to ask Cuddy for approval of his methods doesn't affect much at all since according to House, Cuddy can never refuse him for one reason or another. If she does refuse, he usually gets around this via a loophole either he, Wilson, or one of his fellows can find around policy.
Earlier seasons had Foreman (Order, because he followed policy more in earlier seasons) and Chase (Chaos, because he agreed with House just to kiss-ass).
Pair Kutner + Defibrillator and anyone trying to deal with the subsequent mess. Or Kutner with anyone else really.
In Get Smart, the government spy agency the heroes belonged to was called CONTROL, while their enemies' organization was KAOS.
Classic Doctor Who had the Black and White Guardians, cheerleaders for chaos and order, respectively.
The new series and The Sarah Jane Adventures has The Trickster and The Pantheon of Discord. Though an opposite Order aligned group has not been shown. As they share some dialogue, some speculate that the two may be related, if not the same being.
The Doctor himself is a benevolent force of chaos (just look at the effect he has on his companions' lives), and many of his enemies represent cruel order. The Daleks believe in cleansing the universe of all that does not meet their standards of purity and perfection (i.e. themselves), the Cybermen want to achieve harmony and survival by eliminating things like race, gender, and those untidy emotions (by making everyone a Cyberman), and the Master is a counterpart to the Doctor himself, but instead of merely wanting to experience the universe, he intends to run it.
The rest of the Doctor's race, the Time Lords, were "ancient, dusty senators" who were afraid of change and chaos. While they weren't his enemies for most of the original series (though they had their moments), they were nonetheless very law-bound and the Doctor was considered a dangerous renegade, who was tolerated because he occasionally came in handy.
In Yes, Minister, Hacker tries to claim that the role of the government is to do good and fight evil. Humphrey dismisses that notion with a dry laugh, and explains that the government is actually there to maintain order amid chaos.
Even Sister Sister had this! Tia and Tamera had very different personalities. Tia (order) was the neat, studious one, and Tamera (chaos) was the party girl.
Oddly enough, shows up perfectly in the country music song "The Reckless Side Of Me" by The Steeldrivers. "There's two angels sittin on my shoulders / All they ever do is disagree / One sits on the side of rhyme and reason / The other on the reckless side of me"
The Rush song "Cygnus X-1: Book II" is about this. It details a war between Apollo (who brings wisdom and order) and Dionysus (of love and chaos) that decimates the human followers. This is ended when the astronaut from Book I (at the end of the previous album) shows up and tells of how he has existed after plunging into the titular black hole. They dub him Cygnus The God of Balance as a result.
Another, similar conflict from the Attitude Era was down-on-his-luck Psychopathic ManchildMankind's running battle with the 'Corporate Champion', The Rock, which involved the clean-cut rising star (and corporate shill) of the WWE getting squashed under forklifts, thrown through tables, and repeatedly gagged with Mankind's Companion Cube, 'Mr. Socko'.
CM Punk has been on both sides of this in recent years. He's been a force of Chaos operating against the authority in the WWE in the form of John Laurinitis and Triple H. However, in his recent feud against Jeff Hardy, Punk played the role of Order, contrasting his personal dedication to the Straight Edge lifestyle against Jeff's excessive self-indulgence.
This is a far more common dichotomy in ancient religions than concepts of "good vs. evil". Consider almost any ancient Pantheon (such as the Norse or Greek Gods) with flawed and often immoral dieties. They aren't exactly "good" in the sense of being moral and upright, but they represent elements of Order and human understanding and were almost always opposed to some rival group representing forces of Chaos and primordial nature. The Norse Gods fought the Frost Giants, the Olympian Gods defeated the Titans and Giants. Over time, and especially under the influence of medieval Christianity, Order became more associated with morality and the divine while Chaos became associated with evil, sin, (where applicable) the devil.
This is the central tenet of Zoroastrianism. Followers worship Ahura-Mazda, the embodiment of truth, order and justice — and oppose chaos and disorder (also known as the Lie). One of the offshoot sects, called Zurvanism, names the Lie as Ahriman, the brother of Ahura-Mazda, and holds that the two are always in conflict over the spirits of mankind. The two are both the sons of Zurvan (aka Time).
In Khemetic Orthodoxy, the god Set is considered to embody constructive chaos (the forest fire that allows new growth, for example) while the... thing... known as Isfet represents Chaos taken to its potentially universe-destroying extreme.
Order versus Chaos was the primary division in Ancient Egyptian religion, with the word Ma'et meaning not just order but also justice and rightness. The word Isfet meant both chaos and injustice. The Pharaoh was the "Lord of Ma'et" who upheld both social and cosmic order through his combined political and religious authority. Without this authority, the Egyptians believed that the primordial chaos which existed before Creation would overtake the world and dissolve everything.
On the other hand, the Principia recognizes the difference between creative/destructive order and disorder, advocating the "good" version of each. Although it generally prefers the "disorderly" method, as Discordians believe the world is far too organized already.
The Seelie and Unseelie courts of the Fae represent Order and Chaos (or Light and Darkness) respectively rather than Good and Evil, although that is how many modern fictional treatments align them. Both tend to be equally dangerous and unpredictable.
Many creation myths start with a primordial sea of chaos, from which gods and creatures are born that eventually bring order to the chaos and create the earth.
The Taoist creation story from the Zhuangzi is about a chaotic, bag-shaped god named Hundun ('chaos'), who lived before the universe existed, and two emperors called Shu and Hu (Brief and Sudden). Hundun treated Shu and Hu kindly, so they decided to repay his kindness. "All men have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe," they said (nostril, nostril, mouth, ear, ear, anus, the other one). "But Hundun has none. Let's trying drilling some into him!" Every day they drilled another hole, and on the seventh day, Hundun died. People like the emperorsmeddle with the primal world by trying to establish rules and regulations for it, thus killing it.
The Old World of Darkness had three cosmic principles in its setting, especially shown in the Werewolf and Mage games: Dynamism/Wyld as Chaos, Stasis/Weaver as Order/Technology, and Entropy/Wyrm as corrupted destruction. Werewolf especially tended to picture Chaos as good, but mostly because it was the underdog of that fight. Mage had the technomancers of the Technocracy to act as Order, the insane Marauders as Chaos, and the diabolic Nephandi to serve as Entropy, with the Player Characters supposed to stand somewhere in between.
The cosmology in the Mage: The Ascension setting stressed the importance of the Unity of these three forces. When in balance, they feed into one other in a perfect harmony of creation, existence, and destruction leading to new creations. The Crapsack World nature of the WoD is a result of that balance having been broken in favor of stasis and corruption.
Incidentally, in the creation myth for Werewolf, the Wyrm was originally supposed to be the blessed end brought to all things that had fulfilled the purpose. Then the Weaver, who'd already been driven batshit crazy by trying to define the limitless Wyld, tried to define the Wyrm, which twisted it and turned its purpose towards unending corruption.
The Were-Spider source book details their more minute distinctions of each force in the way they determine their Auspice. Each were-spider has what amounts to a primary alignment with one of the three forces, and a secondary allignment which determined how they expressed it. An entropic-dynamic character then, would thus be concerned with spreading/serving entropy and destruction in as choatic a manner as possible, where-as a static-dynamic character might be more intered in creating and preserving new works.
It is not as hard-written into the story as in the other gamelines, but Vampire: The Masquerade has this kind of conflict too between the three core factions presented, with the Anarchs representing chaos, the Camarilla representing order and the Sabbat representing destruction, based on their general demeanours and goals. This in itself gets twisted around a through the individuals of each sect a lot, however, so it's definitely not as prominent as the more solid examples in the setting. The Camarilla is generally presented as the good guys in this gameline, with some Anarchs shining through occasionally, though it more leans towards being the lesser evil than actually being good.
In White Wolf's other Tabletop RPG, Exalted, traces of this are also present. The Wyld is a place instead of a force, but one which The Fair Folk inhabit as the representatives of Chaos. Order is represented by the Sidereal Exalted and their Celestial Bureaucracy, as well as by the Realm of the Dragon Blooded.
Dungeons & Dragons has a similar system of moral alignment for characters which opposes Evil to Good, and Law to Chaos.
In the original game, there were only three alignments: Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. Lawful was frequently equated with Good and Chaotic with Evil, so it's not much of a surprise that future editions expanded the system into the nine alignments that we know today — which many people still have arguments about, in large part because of the popularity of Anti Heroes and Anti Villains in fantasy fiction. C'est la vie.
Even in the original edition, the Monster Manual had creatures defined as "Chaotic but good" or "Lawful but evil". This most likely led to the two-axis alignments.
The other alignments are also useful. A Dark Lord's just-following-orders minion or a heretic-burning priest is Lawful Evil (keep the rules whatever the cost to people.) A Thief character is Chaotic Good (screw the rules, be excellent to each other.)
Fourth Edition pared it down to Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, and Chaotic Evil. Players have hotly debated whether this means that Lawful Good is somehow "more good" than Chaotic Good, or whether goodness means being naturally chaotic. Wizards' own article on the subject appears here. To summarize for those who don't want the link; Word of God is that Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil are explicitly notThe Same but More of Good and Evil. They simply represent very specific, focused views of good and evil — Lawful Good views law and order as being essential components to goodness, while Chaotic Evil is so psychotic and self-absorbed it goes beyond what even Evil considers appropriate. An "Evil" character has standards and is usually rational about their goals; a "Chaotic Evil" character has no standards and will do whatever they want to achieve their goals, which are often horrific even to Evil beings.
In the older editions, the Blood War was a massive mashup between the demons and the devils on which kind of evil (pure rampaging destructive chaos vs brutal and cunning tyranny) should dominate the cosmos. Now it's just a personal vendetta between the demons and the devils — the devils want the Shard of Evil that created demonkind, the demons want the fragment of it they already stole back. Your tastes may vary, as, although it now lacks much of the flavor of the original, it also eliminated the implication that it was the only thing keeping the endless hordes of demons from overwhelming the cosmos.
"Basically, the Blood War is a conflict between an army of regimented, disciplined war mongers and a bunch of psychopathic murderers." (Fiendish Fortresses by Monte Cook)
In 4e, the equivalent of the Blood War of prior editions is being fought between Bane, god of war and conquest, and Gruumsh, god of destruction and slaughter. Bane is a strategist who plays by the rules of war, while Gruumsh cares only for slaughter. Gruumsh covets Bane's position as god of war, and Bane uses the war with Gruumsh as a cover to make the other deities think he's distracted, occupied, and generally less competant than he actually is, though Gruumsh's unpredictability and bravado keeps the war much more even than Bane would like.
In the Basic/Expert/etc variant of D&D, the Sphere of Matter was generally affiliated with Law, and the Sphere of Energy with Chaos, with Time favoring Neutrality and Thought combining some of each. The four all generally team up to oppose the Sphere of Entropy, a nihilistic variant of Chaos that's looking to eliminate life of any alignment, however.
Curiously, that's how things are in Normal CD&D reality. In the alternate Nightmare reality, it's Chaos (a.k.a. Freedom) that's generally on the side of the angels, and Law (there called Stasis) that's considered a menace.
The Neverwinter campaign setting can get like this with the right Game Master and playing the cynical side of Idealism vs. Cynicism. One interpretation of the campaign is do you let Lord Neverember rule knowing that he might use Neverwinter as a stepping stone to conquer the northern lands, or do you dethrone him and risk the rioting that could cause Neverwinter to never recover from the disasters? Tyranny or anarchy, take your pick.
Two products from Lamentations of the Flame Princess, publisher of "Old School Renaissance" supplements for older D&D games, redefine Law and Chaos:
Carcosa defines Law as "sworn enemies the Old Ones" and Chaos as "servants and allies of the Old Ones".
Their flagship RPG, Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role Playing (whew!) defines Lawful beings as (oversimplifying a bit) conscious pawns in a cosmic plan, and Chaotic beings as those touched by magic, a random and amoral force that could overwhelm our so-called "reality" in the blink of an eye. Notably all Clerics must be Lawful, and all Magic-Users and Elves must be Chaotic.
In Magic The Gathering, the conflict between White and Red is the conflict between Order and Chaos.
And then there's some of the Guilds from the Ravnica set, which explore the mixing of the two in some interesting ways. The Boros Guild, Red/White, could almost be said to have taken a page from the notebook of Sam Vimes, Order himself.
This is taken a step further in the form of the Rakdos Guild. The Rakdos guild is the black, red guild; more or less a self-indulgent and frequently psychotically violent chaos incarnate. It is revealed that the entire reason the other nine Guilds allow the Rakdos to exist is to show to the non-guild citizens what a world without the guilds would be like. Furthermore, when a guild wants something done on a large scale that just isn't possible within their respected roles of the guildpact, they often commission the Rakdos to sow a little chaos and do it for them. Or, in the case of the Dimir, they set things up so the Rakdos take the blame.
Warhammer had both the Chaos gods and the Gods of Law, the later being obviously so obscure that they not only are barely mentioned, but pretty much absent from the main plot, although their followers are known to be extremistic. There's also several other gods who are either rather neutral, or that side against Chaos, but are not considered Gods of Order.
The Chaos Gods themselves do not simply represent Chaos; they represent corrupted Chaos. All Warp gods are affected by the emotions of their worshippers and all four Chaos gods personify, in part, something much more positive than their normal nature- Slaanesh is the God of Love, for instance, and Tzeentch the God of Hope. The reason they are Chaotic Evil rather than Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Good is largely because the Warhammer universe is just that screwed up. The fact that all the other factions are about as Ax-Crazy as each other is what makes Chaos the worst faction of the lot in the first place. Its not that there is no Good and Evil in this setting- it's that Evil exists, and it has won.
Warhammer 40,000 typically defines itself as Order vs. Chaos (or rather, Order vs. Disorder, seeing as how one of the factions in the universe is called Chaos). There is no real Good vs Evil. Although there are some individuals who could be considered good, as a whole the sides are basically Bad vsWorse.
However, Order does come off as a slightly lighter shade of black most of the time. Normal racial divisions are the Imperium, Eldar, and Tau for Order, and Chaos, Dark Eldar, and Orks for Disorder. Necrons and Tyranids are both off to the side a bit, but as Necron lore becomes more developed, they seem to be leaning towards Order.
In the first Necrons codex, the C'tan are essentially the Gods of Order, as they're the complete antithesis of the Chaos Gods. The Chaos Gods exist in the Warp while the C'tan are wholly physical beings (well, energy beings, but they have no connection to Warp whatsoever) The Chaos Gods can substitute reality with their own, while the C'tan have mastery over the laws of physics, allowing both to do seemingly magical things. The followers of the Chaos Gods tend to end up controlled by their emotions and become more and more mutated until they turn into mindless Spawn, while the followers of the C'tan had their minds transferred into unchanging metal bodies and became the soulless and emotionless Necrons. The ultimate goal of the Chaos Gods is to consume the galaxy in chaos by turning it into a giant warp rift, while the ultimate goal of the C'tan is to seal off the warp, turning every sentient being into soulless cattle for them to feed on.
This angle was dropped in the second Necrons codex because Games Workshop came to the realisation that this made it very hard to give any meaningful character to the Necrons themselves and defined them solely by their relationship to the C'tan.
Similarly to the C'tan mentioned above, in the Fantasy setting perfect order can be seen in the undead armies, the Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings, legions of mindless servants who thoughtlessly serve their masters in "the perfect, unending order of undeath."
Winterweir has one of its main setting themes as the conflict between the Celestials (Order) and the Demons (Chaos) with neither side being especially good.
In Traveller the Intersteller Wars are very much a war between "order" and "chaos" . The Vilani Empire is about ten thousand years old and has done almost nothing new in thousands of years. Yet at the same time it has highly refined all it's techniques and technology and has a political system designed to keep order. It is sometimes oppressive but it holds thousands of worlds together. The Terran Confederation has a more or less democratic order and it has large numbers of only half-controlled Intrepid Merchants and Space Cossacks pushing in to the Vilani Imperium.
By the time that most Traveller campaigns take place the interstellar wars are ancient history, the Terrans defeated the Vilani First Imperium and founded the Second Imperium which collapsed after less than 500 years. The Third Imperium is ruled by a blend of Vilani and Terrans Solomani and is a little more balanced than either of the last two.
The Zhodani and Vargr are more extreme examples of Order versus Chaos. Zhodani nobles use their psionics to maintain a vaguely Orwellain police state while the Vargr have a extremely fragmented society where authority is based on "Charisma".
In the Empire Of The Petal Throne Order and Chaos are called Stability and Change, respectively. They are not exactly at war, but they are often opposed. Interestingly, they tend to mirror each other. There's a Stability Sun Deity and a Change Sun Deity, for example. Neither is necessarily good or evil.
A Meta Game version is the Pink Mohawk vs the Black Trenchcoat in Shadowrun, where Pink Mohawks represents chaotic shadowrunners who goes in with plenty of explosions and gunfire while Black Trenchcoat relies on cold calculation to complete the runs.
The epic struggle between SPOON and FORKS could be seen as this kind of conflict, with SPOON being order, and FORKS chaos. PLATTER and KNIVES represent two kinds of neutrality: balance and indifference, in respective order.
The main plot of AdventureQuest Worlds is about Drakath, champion of chaos and the 13 lords of chaos. Order is less obvious, however the constant and stable conflict between good and evil seems to represent order (and considering that it's Lawful Good vs. Lawful Evil, and the predictability of their fight going into something of a tradition, would represent order, an order that Drakath shattered when he came into the story.
In the Metal Gear franchise, Solid Snake would do battle against both terrorists (representing chaos) and politicians (representing law), both of whom threatened to destroy the world with their war with each other.
On a more thematic note, the war between Big Boss and Zero ultimately boils down to this. Big Boss's goal is to establish an anarchic perpetual battleground where soldiers are free to serve as mercenaries and do battle without allegiance to any government, ideology, or creed, whereas the latter hopes to unite the world under a One World Order government run by Big Brother AIs.
The The Witcher franchise had Geralt side with either the Order of the Flaming Rose/Blue Stripes (order) or the Scoia'tael (chaos). The first game allowed Geralt to go neutral, but by the second game the only way he could go neutral is in Chapter III, when he could rescue Triss Merigold over either Anais (order) or Phillipa/Saskia (chaos).
Ultima VII Part II: The Serpent's Isle. In the backstory, the forces of Order and their automatons and the forces of Chaos and their beasts fought a war in which Order ended up destroying the Chaos side. Both Order and Chaos in their extremes are portrayed as evil, and Order may come the worst off. Balance is the right path.
The virtue system in Seprents Isle is quite different from past games. Unlike the Britannia virtues, based on Infinity, Ophedian virtues are based on Order and Chaos. The Virtues of Order are Logic, Ethicality, and Discipline. The Virtues of Chaos are Emotion, Enthusiasm, and Tolerance.
However, unlike the virtues of Britannia, Ophedian virtues are not good by themselves and must be practiced with its opposite counterpart to achieve balance, otherwise, wrongs are committed, called Banes. The Banes of Order are Ruthlessness (Logic without Emotion), Apathy (Discipline without Enthusiasm), and Prejudice (Ethicality without Tolerance). The Banes of Chaos are Insanity (Emotion without Logic), Wantonness (Enthusiasm without Discipline), and Anarchy (Tolerance without Ethicality). The Order and Chaos counterparts combined together form the Principles of Harmony (Tolerance and Ethicality), Dedication (Discipline and Enthusiasm), and Rationality (Logic and Emotion).
Halfway through the game, the Banes of Chaos possess three major party members, which in turn annihilate the three major cities, which were guilty of practicing the Banes of Order. The three main cities were also notable in that they practiced bastardized forms of the three major Britannia Principles, Truth, Love, and Courage. Monitor practiced a bastardized version of Courage and the Bane of Apathy. With their courage just being merely words and not true actions, they were wiped out by the Bane of Wantonness when he sent goblin hordes to attack Monitor. Fawn, worshipped Beauty, a bastardized version of Love, which caused them to commit the Bane of Prejudice to anything ugly. The Bane of Insanity killed the city with plague and flayed the city's priestess alive (the Avatar restores her however). Moonshade (a bastardized version of Britannia's Moonglow, the city of Honesty) is a city of half-truths where the truth is only good when convienant. This leads them to commit the Bane of Ruthlessness. When the Bane of Anarachy arrived, he had the town's inhabitants kill eachother.
Order and Chaos have been divided into separate worlds in The Longest Journey. Although generally both sides try to leave each other alone, sometimes someone gets it into their head that their side is the superior.
The Thief games have the Hammerites, a particularly militant group of Knight Templars, as Order, and the Pagans, a demon-worshipping underground Cult of shamans and hippies, as Chaos. Neither are portrayed as particularly nice. The protagonist, interestingly, could be considered a representation of balance: he's a thief, but his livelihood hinges pretty heavily on the institutions of the society he lives in, and he frequently steps in to keep things from going all to hell.
Shin Megami Tensei has this. In fact, several of them have both a Light/Dark and an Law/Chaos balance going on, and unlike most examples neither side is shown to be better than the other, often becoming two types of evil depending on the game (Neutral is generally treated better and is the canon ending in all instances of direct continuations), but just has different trade offs for humanity and demons.
It returned as a major mechanic in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, up to and including several bonuses (extra attack combos, price discounts when recruiting demons) and losses (failed negotiations, harder to contact successfully a demon of opposite alignment) depending upon your stance on Order and Chaos.
SMT is an interesting example in that although neutrality is often presented as canon, it is also often presented as not being that great of a choice, which ends up making the choice of endings seem like a 'shades of shit' kind of deal. Strange Journey in particular shows that allowing humanity to go on as it is could be a bad idea...
The entire premise of Primal was this. Arella was the literal personification of order. Her polar opposite is Abbadon, who has begun to tip the balance of power towards chaos.
Grandia II portrays the two Gods of the story (Granas and Valmar) as personifications of Order and Chaos, both supposedly created by humans who leaned too far one way or the other. It spells this out, very briefly, and the characters do not comprehend any of the implications. A little robot makes the remark in question. You see, Granas and Valmar were some ancient civilization's scientific researchers, who jointly discovered how to transmute matter and energy at will, i.e. the key to utopia, and promptly became as gods. Their partnership broke up when they realized their ideologies were split neatly along the line described by this trope — Granas wanted a perfect world full of happy people who never experience anything negative; Valmar insisted that life is made interesting by conflict... so he started one. The details are foggy, but we do find out that the war ended with Granas down for the count and Valmar (or at least his giant bio weapon) still hanging around. Gameplay ensues.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (and Path of Radiance, the direct prequel) have Ashera, the Goddess of Order and Yune, Goddess of Chaos.
If the words of a certain traitorous bishounen priest are any indication, this may well turn out to be the most primal conflict in the Suikoden series. There are many ways one could wax fauxlosophic about this, but so far most of the writing on the wall seems to be margin notes. For instance, the conflict that created the Suiko-verse was between two embodiments of protection and destruction. Refreshingly, the series chastises both extremes, showing the horrors of "true Order" (dharma, in the words of the aforementioned priest) at least as often as the horrors of "true Chaos."
Indeed, the Empire of Holy Harmonia, the possible Big Bad of the game series, lives up to its name as the embodiment of strict order. On the other hand, recurring Psycho for Hire Yuber is Chaos's standard bearer (oddly enough, the two actually end up on the same side in at least one war).
It's also implied that Pesmerga, whose sole purpose in life seems to be to eliminate Yuber, is Yuber's counterpart on the side of Order. The two look very similar (including their all-black wardrobes), have swords with the same name, and despite their human appearance are apparently immortal demons of some sort.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion is based around this trope. The Daedric Prince of Order and his forces periodically destroy the Shivering Isles, the realm of madness, creativity, and free will. The main quest of the game? To stop them this time.
The original division between Aedra and Daedra was based on their preference for order or chaos. The differences have evolved over the centuries and often does come across as simply good/evil, though.
Especially in the later games. In the earlier games they were pretty much all bastards.
Even with the Aedra representing Order and the Daedra representing Chaos it gets confusing in the end, however. Remember, the universe token god of Order is a Daedra, not an Aedra, which makes it even more complex of an issue. And even still in the later games, most Daedra, save for Mehrunes Dagon and Molag Bal, tend to get Pet the Dog moments in the games.
And the creation god, Lorkhan, is the most chaotic of all things with sentience.
The concept of order versus chaos is actually the creation myth of Tamriel. In the beginning there was Void, nothing. From the void arose Anu and Padomay, stasis and change; their interplay created Aurbis, existence. In Aurbis there was a spirit of Anu, Anui-El and a spirit of Padomay, Sithis; from Anui-El was born Auri-El, Aldmer god of Time and from Sithis was born Lorkhan, the God who created Mundus.
The main villains of the game Anachronox are revealed to be a species devoted to Chaos, who were sent back to a former universe by a species devoted to Order — though not much is made of this, since the sequel was never made.
Mortal Kombat has the Order Realm/Seido, and the Chaos Realm, who are constantly at war with each other.
Tyrant conquerors Onaga and Shao Khan are associated with order and chaos respectively and are favored by the members of the realm of equivalent alignment.
Dungeon Master features a group of heroes sent on a quest by Lord Order to defeat Lord Chaos. Complete the quest as stated and Lord Order thanks you, then murders you. To win, you have to defeat them both by merging them back into the one human they were originally created from.
Very much like the example above, Faery Tale Adventure 2: Halls of the Dead evokes the "too much of either is bad" version. The Big Bad is ostensibly the personification of Chaos, but destroying him will only serve to allow Order to achieve a perfectly ordered state by encasing the entire universe in lifeless crystal. Destroying Order likewise makes the world uninhabitable, for the opposite reason. The correct solution is to unify them, bringing harmony to the world again.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning had two factions: Order and Destruction (since one of the races is Chaos). With Empire, Dwarves and High Elves on one side and Chaos, Greenskins and Dark Elves on the other. However, it has somewhat been criticised for making the Order side a bit too 'Good', although that could just be in comparison to the pure baby-murdering evil that is Destruction.
In Disgaea, it becomes clear that this is the true conflict, and the idea that it's Good Versus Evil is some sort of in-universe ideal decay that has happened over millennia. Evidence of this is found in the fact that OTHER demons will chastize demons they see getting "too evil", e.g. Raspberyl's declaring Mao's intent to blow up the Earth, an act for scum. Also in the first game Etna insists on teaching Laharl kindness in her own warped demon way, and this trait was something she admired in his father.
The fourth has this andGood Versus Evil (though it's worth noting that Chaos hates "Life" and Order equally, and Life feels the same about Chaos and "Death.") Order is borderline good, but a spell to protect against that alignment references "what the self-righteous are capable of." Chaos . . . is just evil. Sorry.
In the fifth and sixth games, Order is represented by Asha the creator goddess and her six children, as well as by the Necropolis faction who worship Asha as the 'Spider Aspect', while Chaos is represented by Asha's brother Urgash and the Inferno faction, which consists of the Demons that Urgash created to wage war on his sister.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl has the very aptly named Duty vs. Freedom, Duty being a highly disciplined paramilitary organization that believes the world needs to be protected from the Zone, and Freedom being a loosely run band of stoners and anarchists who believe the Zone's gifts should be shared with the entire world.
The famous Green Rocks of Sonic the Hedgehog, are called the Chaos Emeralds. They wasted a perfectly bland plot in the scrapped game Sonic X-Treme, which would have featured the Rings of Order.
This is one of the pairs of faiths in Lords Of Magic. Order is represented by the standard High Middle Ages style humans, Chaos is represented by barbarians.
This is the most important conflict of the Dept Heaven series, where order is represented by the gods of Asgard and chaos by the Underworld and its demons. Both sides are far and away on the "extreme" end of what these things represent, and woe betide anyone who gets in the middle. Gray and Grey Morality also applies; the Big Bad of the series is a proxy of the gods, and the most messianic character who's appeared thus far is a demon.
Riviera: The Promised Land has its hero Ein find a happy medium by telling both sides of the conflict where they can stick it if they're going to keep recklessly endangering the lives of ordinary mortal people in neutral territory for their own selfish warring.
Yggdra Union and Blaze Union both deal with mortal affairs more than the huge conflict going on in the background, but they go a long way towards establishing the powers that be on both sides as incredibly callous. The antagonist of these games was born to be one of Asgard's soldiers, and was punished horribly for refusing to go to war and asserting his free will despite being what was considered a subhuman class, then exiled to a mortal world—and then completely ignored, even as he started manipulating events on that world for the sake of revenge. (These games, by the way, are the one with the messianic demon.)
Knights in the Nightmare explains that the conflict between the forces of order and chaos has been so bad that a lot of worlds have neutral arbitrators to keep their fighting from damaging mortal worlds.
LEGO Universe doesn't exactly have "order," but Imagination is a channeled chaos, pitted against the completely unfettered Maelstrom. The distinction is similar to that between building a tower of Legos out of bricks from a dozen different sets, and smashing the tower to bits.
Though it (possibly) started out as an Good vs. Evil affair, the revelation of Soul Calibur's true intent in SoulCalibur IV (to force the world into a state of peace and safety by crystallizing all its inhabitants) causes its conflict with Soul Edge to fall into this (because it slips into a "no matter who wins, we all lose" scenario). Fan theory suggests that this happened over the course of the series, rather than Soul Calibur having such a twisted objective from the start.
The closest we have to Word of God on the matter is that Soul Calibur was originally just as evil as Soul Edge, from whence it came, because Algol's Blue and Orange Morality gave its spirit no moral compass besides a directive to destroy Soul Edge at all costs. The sword's evil was eventually quieted and purged by its keepers (who are all long dead now), and is speculated to have re-awakened after Soul Calibur was temporarily trapped within Soul Edge. Unlike a lot of video game examples of this trope, merging the swords together is a very bad idea, creating a godlike Eldritch Abomination that is pure evil.
Portal 2 plays the conflict between Master Computer GLaDOS and whimsical AI sidekick Wheatley as less Evil vs. Good and more as the aspect of game theory that pits a perfectly logical, experienced player against a completely random one who has no idea what he's doing, what the rules are, what the win condition is, etcetera. The random player can win not because he's good at the game, but because he's so unpredictable that the logical player cannot anticipate his moves. In fact, later in the game, Wheatley does a better job of being an actual antagonist than GLaDOS ever did. Interestingly, the randomness doesn't always work in his favour because, well, it's random. Even his "triumph" would have meant that everyone lost by dying, instead of just him losing by being deposed.
In The Colour Tuesday, the Others keep everything in a state of mind controlled order so as to prey on humans. This makes the rebellious Alex a perfect candidate for trying to break the Others' control.
In World of Warcraft, the Titans aren't so much "good" as "ordered", and do some pretty morally questionable things in order to keep the balance. On the opposite side is the Burning Legion, which holds it as their sacred mission to bring chaos and destruction to all worlds.
To demonstrate, the Titans created the Halls of Origination which functionally destroys the world by resetting it back to when the Titans first finished making/modifying it. From Algalon's words, it's to be used whenever things go wrong with the Titans plans and seemingly every world visited by the Titans has one.
The Bronze Dragonflight acts much like the Titans, maintaining the "order" of the timelines. This also means ensuring some pretty horrible events happen, as the effects of them not happening might be worse. Their nemesis, the Infinite Dragonflight, wishes to change the timelines greatly to achieve some unknown goal. They do so by disrupting that "order", threatening to destabilize the entirety of time.
Kirby and Meta Knight often fall into this, with the former being carefree and chaotic (often causing a lot of trouble) and the latter imposing extreme order (often in an effort to counteract that trouble).
In Final Fantasy III, Order is not necessarily always good, and Chaos is not always evil. Balance is found in that world through light and darkness, but if either side gets too powerful, four warriors from the opposite side are chosen to wield their respective Crystals and restore the balance. In the game, you play as the Four Warriors of Light trying to balance out the forces of Darkness using the Light Crystals, but then you eventually learn that there were once Four Warriors of Darkness who balanced out the forces of Light using Dark Crystals.
This is the entire foundation of the Dissidia: Final Fantasy, with the Goddess of Harmony (Cosmos) vs the God of Discord (Chaos).
In the first Mass Effect game, Sovereign claims that the Reapers "impose order on the chaos of organic evolution". Two games later, a downed Reaper says something similar, arguing to Shepard that harvesting organics and uploading them into new Reaper shells is the only way to "preserve" them. Otherwise, they will eventually create synthetics that have the power to destroy them. This turns out to be the purpose of the unthinkably old AI overseeing the whole cycle.
The trio of gods in Runescape, Saradomin, Zamorak, and Guthix represent Order, Chaos and Balance, respectively. While there are few sympathetic Zamorakian NPCs, and most heroes are Saradominists, the distinction isn't clear cut, as groups like HAM and the White Knights can attest to. Armadyl, the only objectively "good" god, was dethroned for being a Suicidal Pacifist, Guthix simply wants to preserve existence, though his followers often act Stupid Neutral, and Zaros is just power personified.
A theme in BlazBlue. The game is a very complex Morality Kitchen Sink, but this is an underlying theme of the series. The conflict manifests itself primarily represented in series protagonist, Ragna the Bloodedge and his younger brother/rival, Jin Kisaragi being chaos and order respectively.
Catherine has this as a running theme, and the Ms. Exposition Trisha even brings up this trope on one occasion. The game follows Vincent, a bored thirty-something Everyman who finds himself in a Love Triangle with two women, with the two women representing Order and Chaos. The protagonist's choice between the two or not forms the central focus of his Character Development.
The long conflict between Assassins and Templars in the Assassin's Creed franchise is essentially a question of whether the world needs more freedom or more control. The games are biased in favor of the Assassins, though Shaun (an Assassin) doesn't consider them to be "heroes" since they still kill people to accomplish their goals. Most Templars aren't portrayed in a favorable light, especially in the second game. The third game brings both sides closer together on the morality scale. William tells Desmond that both sides have made attempts throughout history to join together, but ultimately their ideologies are diametrically opposed.
Furthermore, the Templars create chaos in their attempts to impose order whereas Assassins contain chaos by minimizing violence, stabilizing threats and building institutions and support systems. So no one side is pure Order or pure Chaos.
PS238 does this, complete with angels of order and demons of chaos along with the fact that their conflicts are "mostly political nowadays", may be explained by the fact that PS238 is intended as a children's comic.
Nodwick, from the same author, once featured a split-personality god whose Orderly and Chaotic halves - and the worshippers of those halves - simply couldn't get along. Even Piffany, the Morality Pet, couldn't get them to work together for more than a week or two before the mayhem started again.
''The Order of the Stick': When faced with the moral quandary of whether to save his traitorous brother, Elan tries taking the problem as a Good vs. Evil scenario, but fails. Then he tries Law vs. Chaos. It doesn't work either.
Indefensible Positions (a finished webcomic) is largely about a group of heroes dealing with a war between Idiotic Order and Idiotic ChaosKnight Templar demigods. The issue with having "Forces of Chaos" is referred to when one of the main characters says to the Chaotic demigod, "I will serve Chaos" — then adds under his breath, "but not you".
The series dances around this with the Chaotic Djinni-si (a collection of vampires, shapeshifters, telepaths, and other things that go Bump in the Night) and the Orderly Celeste (a hybrid species of angels and demons who are "often" associated with the good side, even though they're collectively the Villain with Good Publicity).
Veled, the Big Bad, is a Celeste best defined as a force of Chaos and Evil.
Word of God also says that the bullethole-and-skull logo of Last Res0rt is named "Chaos". No clue what an alternate logo for "Order" might look like...
In AH.com: The Series, it was revealed at the end of the fourth season that the multiverse is the stage for a continuous cosmic war between the Hub Lords (Order) and the Alien Space Bats (Chaos), which continues even through successive Big Bangs and Crunches and new universes being born.
Codename: Kids Next Door had the Delightful Children From Down the Lane and their Father as Evil Order, and more widely, the adult world in general. Interestingly, the KND could themselves be highly Knight Templar-ish, erasing the memories of their own operatives once they got "too old".
To quote The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, "The world has almost completely fallen into order. It's up to us to restore chaos." Eris, the goddess of chaos, is a recurring character. The one time she was ever calm, life was becoming so routine that it might as well not exist. However, her plans are as chaotic as she is, varying from pranks to antagonizing people to massive upheaval of all life, and involving everything from brainwashing dolls to giant flying babies to giant alien zombie lobsters.
Ćon Flux is all about order vs. chaos to the point of being a gender-flipped version of Moorcock's Cornelius stories, with Aeon as chaos/Jerry and Trevor as order/Miss Brunner.
Reboot has a case of Evil Versus Evil, as Hexadecimal is The Queen of Chaos and Megabyte represents Order in the form of tyranny. The one time that Hexadecimal executed a successful Evil Plan, she snapped her fingers and undid the damage because Victory Is Boring. Megabyte, with the same opportunity, imposed an eternal dystopia note Dot saw a vision of it and prevented it from happening Interestingly, Hexadecimal was never portrayed as Capital E evil in the same sense as Megabyte but more as a force of nature with a dark sense of humor.
In The Simpsons, Bart is Chaos while Lisa is Order. In one of the Simpsons comics (Issue 111) the kids represented them even.
In place of standard Order, it has "Harmony," which emphasizes unity and compromise rather than strict discipline. Opposing it is "Disharmony," which is occasionally referred to as Chaos and emphasizes arbitrariness. Discord, its primary representative, acts according to random whims.
The episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen" has Twilight Sparkle as Order and Pinkie Pie as Chaos. Twilight is the Element of Magic, and firmly believes that everything has an explanation, even magic (since works in ways you direct it in, and creates the expected effect). Pinkie is the Element of Laughter, and despite being an earth pony, is seemingly able to bend space and glimpse the future due to the Rule of Funny.
Subverted in Phineas and Ferb. Candace thinks of herself as representing order but her own behavior is at least as chaotic as the boys. Played straighter with the regimented OWCA versus the whimsically evil Doofenshmitrz.
As revealed in The Legend of Korra: Beginnings, there were two major spirits: Raava the order spirit, and Vaatu the chaos spirit. Each 10,000 years, they wrestle around, the former keeping the latter in line just in time for the Harmonic Convergence. But it was thanks to Wan accidentally releasing Vaatu that the balance of the world gets out of control. So he spends the rest of his life working with Raava to fix what he accidentally did.
Season three has the Red Lotus, a splinter group of the White Lotus who are essentially anarcho-primitivists who revere Vaatu who wish to destroy all governments and establish a new, more spiritual world. In the words of their leader, "The natural order is disorder". Season 4's main villain is Kuvira's Earth Empire, a force of absolute order.
Depending on the region, the game Pai Sho, which both Lotus groups draw their names from, is considered either a fast-paced and exciting game, like the Red Lotus, or one about strategy and waiting for the proper time to make a move, like the Earth Empire (and as presented with Asami and Bolin, order beats chaos every time).
In The LEGO Movie, Lord Business represents order, with his insistence on conformity and following the instructions, and the Master Builders represent chaos, with their unbridled (and sometimes counterproductive) creativity. Emmet succeeds by balancing the two, in a sense.
This is the conflict in physics between the theories of General Relativity, which describes an orderly and predictable universe, but is only applicable to large scales, and Quantum Mechanics, which describes a chaotic, random, near-nonsensical universe, but is only applicable to small scales. Both theories are correct, even though they contradict each other. The purpose of a Unified Field Theory would be to resolve these conflicts and unite both theories.
Real life asymmetric/guerilla wars tend to be this trope. Although the chaos is usually less of a choice than in most fiction, and more of a necessity, born from a lack of options.
Judging v.s. Perceiving preference pair in Myers-Briggs tests. Judgers prefer more order in interactions and frequently lay out plans, Perceivers have more flexible rules and do not keep plans as much.